HEALTH /​SCIENCE

Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Bring back the Paddlefish

A century ago, as work neared completion on the region’s locks and dams and Pittsburgh was producing half of the nation’s steel, paddlefish disappeared from the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Uncharted territory

Science and technology march along, year after year, making gradual progress in transforming our lives. Every now and again, however, a public event is staged — the moon landing, a computer playing a chess champion, decoding the human genome — that gives the public the appearance of a breakthrough.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Innovations

Come on, Ima, vamanos! That was the exhortation from my 3-​year-​old recently when she wanted me to hurry up and get out the play dough. Like now, Mommy — before I scream…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

The Pittsburgh project

The year is 2020. You’re driving home from work, listening to your favorite satellite radio station. An announcer interrupts with breaking news: Smallpox has broken out in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of patients are flooding hospitals, with untold more infected. The public is panicked. Local officials are scrambling to maintain control.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Our endangered river

by Jeffery Fraser
It’s a crisp November morning, some 25 years ago. Bob Ging and Don Gales are hunting on a ridge in Lower Turkeyfoot, Somerset County, where green hemlocks mingle with bare winter hardwoods. “Boy, this is beautiful,” says Ging as sunrise reveals the emerald waters of Laurel Hill Creek in the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

A rhapsody in blue

This summer, as Pittsburgh hosts World Environment Day and the world focuses on biodiversity, a small river 90 miles north of the city will do what it has always done. Quietly, its waters wind along a 117-​mile path from Chautauqua County, New York, into western Pennsylvania, where it joins the…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Saving Cook Forest

Anthony Cook has a name that carries responsbility. He is the fifth generation of the Cook family — and the fourth named Anthony — involved in the creation and preservation of Cook Forest State Park.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Our city, our water

An April 23 Forbes article describes “America’s 10 Thirstiest Cities,” and, of course, each is west of the Rockies and faces some degree of water crisis. Closer to home, the Great Lakes, which hold roughly 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, have dropped dramatically in the past decade. Explanations…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Pasteur’s Quadrant

Among scientific researchers, you’re in the zone if you can create something that falls into what is known as Pasteur’s Quadrant. Back when the National Academy of Science was getting organized, its president, Vannevar Bush, developed a methodology for allocating federal funding by classifying research as either basic or applied.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Parks for the future

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County’s parks were special places to me. I learned to ski at Boyce Park, and my family had fall picnics at Hartwood Acres. As an adult, I’ve explored them in different ways — mountain biking, rollerblading and going to concerts. And since November, when…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Dr. D.A. Henderson

There are a lot of reasons why people believe Dr. D.A. Henderson was the best person to lead the successful effort to eradicate smallpox from the planet in the 1960s and 1970s.Usually they revolve around his intellect (unquestionably world class), his training (schooled in “shoe leather epidemiology” by his mentor)…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Dr. D.A. Henderson

There are a lot of reasons why people believe Dr. D.A. Henderson was the best person to lead the successful effort to eradicate smallpox from the planet in the 1960s and 1970s. Usually they revolve around his intellect (unquestionably world class), his training (schooled in “shoe leather epidemiology” by his…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Electrifying knowledge

In 1995, Carnegie Mellon University’s Professor Raj Reddy organized a meeting in Shadyside of the world’s foremost digital thought leaders to discuss the feasibility of electronic libraries. The idea of very large Internet libraries had been gestating in Reddy’s mind for about 15 years, but it was not until then…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

We, robot

A decade ago, the Wall Street Journal gave Pittsburgh the moniker “Roboburgh” when compiling its list of the nation’s 13 hottest high-​tech regions. The Steel City is living up to its 21st-​century nickname, making new its rich history of engineering complex things.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Planetary Hollywood

First the lights dim. In the darkness, you feel the intense drumbeat and techno-​pop rhythms of the synthesizer pounding deep in your gut. Next a fiery, red globe materializes above you like a cosmic disco ball of galactic proportions. Look left and a futuristic spacecraft emerges from the solar system…
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